Your vascular system is essential. It transports blood all over your body, and it carries glucose and oxygenated blood to nourish and energize your body. Caring for your vascular systems includes a diet centered around wholesome, fiber-filled foods and regular exercise.
Unfortunately, it’s normal for us to turn to high-sodium foods and snacks while we’re on the run. It doesn’t help that our brains are also programmed to seek out things that are sweet and calorically dense for quick boosts of energy. Working long hours, commuting, and community and family obligations don’t always allow us to make room for healthy eating and habits. This can put anyone at risk of developing hypertension, also known as high blood pressure.
Who’s at risk for high blood pressure?
According to the CDC, hypertension affects men and women at similar rates, with men affected slightly more often, but several other factors play a role. Controlling your high blood pressure isn’t just on you - our warm and compassionate team at Fayz Yar Khan, MD in Phoenix are here to help you. High blood pressure doesn’t usually come with symptoms, though some people may experience the occasional headache.
Risk factors for high blood pressure include:
- Being 65 or over
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Family history
- Thyroid Disorders
- Sodium-heavy diets
Without close monitoring and a plan in place, high blood pressure can damage your veins, contribute to kidney failure, and lead to a heart attack or a stroke. If you have any of these risk factors, regular checkups will help you and Dr. Yar Khan stay on top of your vascular health. We work closely with you to monitor your blood pressure, and help establish a long-term plan to help you stay healthy. Whether you’re living with hypertension or not, a healthy blood pressure is important to your health.
What can I do to manage my high blood pressure?
While there are a number of things that you can do today to keep your blood pressure healthy, it’s always good to start with a call to your doctor. After talking with you about your medical history and your lifestyle, Dr. Yar Khan runs tests to diagnose whether you have high blood pressure. After a proper diagnosis, he makes more specific recommendations to you. Until we meet with you, here are a couple of everyday things that you can do to manage your high blood pressure:
Smoking cigarettes has been long known to elevate blood pressure. The longer you smoke, the greater your risk of developing high blood pressure. Nicotine weakens your veins and makes it easier for dangerous plaque to build up in the arteries, which feed blood to your heart.
Be careful with sodium
As mentioned earlier, your diet and lifestyle can affect your risk for high blood pressure. Choosing whole, healthy foods over sodium-rich foods is an important step in managing your blood pressure. Fiber clears your digestive system, mitigates your blood sugar, and fights buildup on the walls of your veins and arteries.
Increase your physical activity
Part of managing high blood pressure is elevating it in a healthy way - meaning, with exercise! Dr. Yar Khan gives his recommendations for the type and rigor of physical activity that would be best for you. If you’re not sure where to begin, The American Heart Association recommends several activities, including walking, running, fitness classes, and team sports. What’s most important is finding a physical activity that you enjoy, and staying consistent.
Limit your alcohol
A glass of wine contains many things that are good for you, but that same glass can affect you if you have high blood pressure, so it’s important to be judicious when you choose to consume alcohol. While quitting alcohol altogether may not be necessary, limiting your alcohol intake is good health advice for anyone, particularly if you’re living with a chronic condition.
Getting to a healthy weight is crucial when you’re managing high blood pressure. Extra weight on your body puts a strain on your heart. Obesity is a risk factor not only for high blood pressure, but also for diabetes, which can also be negatively exacerbated by high blood pressure. Dr. Yar Khan will talk with you about lifestyle improvements that can help you get to and maintain a healthy weight.
Don’t let high blood pressure sneak up on you. If you have any of the risk factors, call Dr. Yar Khan to schedule a consultation at 602-254-1136, or book an appointment online.